How Travel Positively Impacts Your Mental Health
To mark World Mental Health Day 2023, we wanted to dedicate a blog to something that improves your mental well-being and what we love the most – travel!
Travel allows us to embark on a journey with new terrains, cultures, flavours, and sounds to explore; often overlooked is also the significant impact that travel can have on our mental well-being. More people grapple with stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed in their day-to-day lives. Here's a closer look at how traversing the world can have therapeutic effects on the mind and soul.
Holidays Provide a Break from the Monotony of our Daily Routines
The routines we carve for ourselves can often be comforting. We find safety in knowing what our day might look like, especially when we’re struggling with our mental health. But this routine can also bind us in chains of monotony. Breaking away and immersing ourselves into a new environment allows the brain a much-needed respite and allows us to take a step away from the chaos, allowing our minds to rewire, adapt, and rejuvenate.
Travel Encourages Mindfulness
Travel allows us to be in the present moment so much more; whether it's browsing a colourful market somewhere in Asia or listening to the soft hum of waves on a beach in Turkey, we get to really tune into our senses. This heightened state of awareness and mindfulness can help in reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of peace – especially in nature, when you’re totally in the moment, admiring the views of something incredible. That’s healing work right there.
We Expand our Horizons
Not only do we learn a great deal when visiting new cultures / destinations, we also come into situations that are out of our control. When traveling, things don't always go according to plan. Missed flights, lost baggage, or navigating unfamiliar terrains – these are challenging hurdles that we have no choice but to face head-on when travelling, which not only broadens our horizons but also strengthens our mental resilience. We learn to cope, adapt, and find solutions in the face of adversity.
Travel Allows us on a Journey of Reflection & Self-Discovery
Travel gives us time. Time away from our daily obligations and distractions. This often paves the way for introspection. Away from the noise and the worry, we can reconnect with ourselves, reevaluate life choices, and gain clarity on personal goals and desires. It’s common to make big decisions when on holiday, because you have more time and clarity.
Travel Boosts the Mood & Therefore Reduces Risks of Depression
Several studies have shown the positive effects of travel on our mental state. Sunlight is known to increase the levels of serotonin in our body, the hormone responsible for mood upliftment, as well as vitamin D. Furthermore, the joy of experiencing new places, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures can be a natural antidote to feelings of sadness or depression.
We Build & Foster New Connections
Travel helps us connect - with places, cultures, people, and most importantly, with ourselves. These connections can foster a sense of belonging and help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. We also meet new people from completely different walks of life, which feels like a breath of fresh air.
Is Travel a Form of Therapy?
The world is vast, and waiting to be explored, but sometimes, the most significant journey you can take is not just across continents but within the realms of your own mind, and there lies the potential for healing, growth, and rejuvenation. Whether you’re travelling halfway across the world, or an hour down the road, or perhaps even just taking a day off work - a mental break is so important and taking that time out has the potential to do wonderful things for your well-being.
We see this all as a win-win and another excuse to book that trip! However, we know it doesn’t take a scientist to work out that travel is good for the soul. Sometimes we just need a little reminder and reading it or saying it out louder just makes it more real.
We also know that a holiday isn’t a miracle cure for mental health... While travel should never be seen as a complete replacement for professional mental health treatment, its therapeutic benefits are undeniable. It provides an escape, not in the sense of running away from our problems, but rather as a means of gaining perspective.
There is a much bigger picture to reflect on today. Lots of us and our loved ones have been through mental struggles, and there is no sugar coating it. It’s rough. But we believe taking steps to even make life just that little bit easier makes the world of difference. And we’re not just talking travel here! Do something that will give you a boost. Eat your favourite food for tea. Listen to your favourite podcast on the way home. Make time for a bubble bath. It's the little things that make the biggest impact. Take care of yourself in these testing times.
The Brightsun Travel Mental Health Toolkit 2023
We at Brightsun have also created a toolkit to mark World Mental Health Day for our company staff in India and the UK, and we believe everyone would benefit from browsing this. The toolkit focuses on the importance of mental health in the workplace with platforms and resources offering self-help tools and guidance, plus helplines that are available in times of crisis. The toolkit also provides information on how we have contributed to improving staff mental wellness and creating a prime work-life balance. Check it out here.
If you’re struggling, we know it can be easier said than done to reach out, but just know you are not alone in this, and there are resources available for you!